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Patrick Hester first ever Assistant Professor awarded BCET Excellence in Research Award

Old Dominion University's Batten College of Engineering and Technology (BCET) presented its 2011 Excellence Awards and Student Awards at a reception on Tuesday, April 26.

The Batten College Excellence Award in Teaching was presented to Roland Mielke, professor and chair of the Department of Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Engineering (MSVE).

Batten College Dean Oktay Baysal said Mielke's talent and experience made him a natural choice to be the first-ever chair for the MSVE department.

"I knew that I could count on him when we developed the curriculum for the new bachelor's program that is now being successfully delivered," Baysal said.

Patrick Hester, assistant professor of modeling and simulation research, received the 2011 Excellence Award in Research. Resit Unal, chair of the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, said Hester is the first assistant professor to receive the Excellence Award in Research.

"Hester has focused successful research in multi-attribute decision making under uncertainty, complex system governance, and decision making using modeling and simulation," Unal said. "His sponsored research with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate in R&D System Governance has produced multiple publications, provided a new course for the curriculum and advanced the leadership role of ODU in this emerging field."

The 2011 Excellence Award in Student Advising was presented to Bill Drewry, an adjunct instructor with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Department Chair Gary Schafran said Drewry has done his job at a time of large growth of enrollment in the department.

"I believe a direct result of his advising is increased retention of undergraduate students and improved regard by students for the overall advising process and the department," Schafran said. "His nomination is one that I was implored by several faculty and staff to submit, since it is clearly obvious to those closest to the CEE department that students are substantially better prepared due to his dedicated advising efforts."

The Excellence Award in Industry Partnering was presented to Bev Forbes, director of experiential education programs with the Career Management Center. Baysal said the college's connection to industry and employers of ODU's graduating students is key to staying successful. "Forbes has been a valuable team member in this respect, starting with her position in our electrical and computer engineering department and extending to her current role in career management," Baysal said.

The 2011 Excellence Award in Support Operations was presented to Diane Mitchell, graduate program support technician with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Mitchell was given additional duties when the departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering were merged in the Batten College, and handled them with aplomb, said Jen-K Huang, professor and department chair.

"Diane is not only dedicated to her job duties, but to the MAE department as a whole. She works very well with the faculty, staff, students and customers. She is very hardworking, reliable and pleasant, which provides a friendly and warm atmosphere in the department," Huang said.

Also Tuesday night, the 2011 Student Awards were handed out to 12 students.

Calvin Whealton received three awards: the J. Harold Lampe Award for Overall Excellence in Engineering, the Faculty Award for Excellence in Engineering and the Faculty Award in Civil Engineering.

Joseph Dunne received two awards, the Faculty Award in Mechanical Engineering Technology and the Faculty Award in Naval Science.


The Lee M. Klinefelter Award for Overall Excellence in Engineering Technology was presented to Levi Van Stedum.

Ye Ai received the Faculty Award in Aerospace Engineering; Aziz Matar received the Faculty Award in Mechanical Engineering; Damien Cash received the Faculty Award in Computer Engineering; and Brett Sawyer received the Faculty Award in Electrical Engineering.

The Faculty Award in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering was presented to Christopher Garcia. The Faculty Award in Civil Engineering Technology was given to Wayne Laustsen. The Faculty Award in Electrical Engineering Technology was presented to Richard Seriani.

The Faculty Award in Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Engineering was given to Elaine Blount. And the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence in Engineering Technology was presented to Michael Penkrot.

The awards were given out at a dinner ceremony held at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club.